What is aromatherapy
At this point most people are familiar with aromatherapy. You have most likely had someone recommend you try one essential oil or the other because of some proposed benefit. This makes sense to me because aromatherapy is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to approach your health and beauty.
So what exactly is aromatherapy? Well, it involves smelling or applying essential oils to the skin through massage, lotions or bath salts to improve your health. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. The essential oils that are used in aromatherapy are typically extracted from various parts of plants and then distilled.
What is aromatherapy used for
So what is aromatherapy actually used for? Honestly, the shorter answer is what isn’t it used for!? Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system also known as the part of the brain that controls emotions. Smell is a powerful connection to our deepest emotional connections. Think about how the smell of suntan lotion floods your body with memories of all the wonderful vacations you’ve taken. Additionally, the plants themselves have healing properties that can be derived from being absorbed through the skin or ingested.
Of course, it goes without saying that a healthcare professional should advise about use and application of all essential oil treatments. But, I am going to say it! If you have read some of my other blogs you will know what my biggest pet peeve with holistic healthcare is when individuals do not get a complete picture of your healthcare options. If you are in pain or experiencing a health concern by all means, use aromatherapy or any treatment option that works for you! But, make sure you follow up with your primary care doctor!! Get to the root of the problem and do not settle for a treatment that simply treats your symptoms.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way, we can look to studies that have shown aromatherapy has a number of health benefits. This includes relief from anxiety and depression, relief from a number of skin conditions, better sleep, reducing inflammation, and cosmetic uses.
Does aromatherapy really work
I can tell you how aromatherapy has worked for me. I use aromatherapy in three main ways in my personal life. One, I use lavender oil to treat my psoriasis. Two, I use peppermint oil for digestive problems associated with lactose intolerance. And three, I use tea tree oil to manage my acne.
I can tell you this… it works for me! You can find a seperate post about how I use essential oils with my massage clients. Professionally, my use of aromatherapy differs from personal use for several reasons. However, the fact remains that essential oils have worked for me.
What to look for when buying essential oils
Not all essential oils are created equally! If you are looking for an oil for aromatherapy keep these things in mind. You will want to use pure oils that do not have added ingredients and are not synthetic. A huge red flag is anything labeled as a fragrance oil. You should also look for oils sold in dark glass bottles. These bottles protect the oil’s quality since light and plastic can damage them.
Labeled with details about the oil’s source are also important. Choose manufacturers that use the plant’s botanical. Also look for products that specify the part of the plant used to make the essential oil. If you can find oils produced through distillation or mechanical cold pressing. Also organically grown sources are ideal for your essential oil selection.